Melody Composition Assignment in Melodic Minor


OK so let’s walk through our melody
composition in melodic minor. This is a lot like what we did in Major a few
weeks ago. The first thing is to get your time signature in there, and your
key signature. Now, I’m using one that’s in G melodic minor, but you might have
one that’s in D or F, or some other key. Just like we did with our Major
Melody assignment, you can only skip between notes that are scale degrees 1, 3,
or 5. So 1, 3, and 5 in my G key are G Bb and D. I’m only allowed to jump between
notes if they’re the letters G, Bb, or D. Everything else must move by step.
OK, I’ll keep that in mind. And then, usually just like in any song, we want to
hover around scale degrees one and five. In G, that’s G and D, in the key of D
that’s D and A, and the key of C minor, they would be C and G. It’s always the starting
note from the scale and then the fifth letter up.
Now our template file already has our exercise setup so that there are five
measures, so that’s all set for us. And in the last measure our only whole note
that we are allowed is the very last measure. The fifth measure will have a
whole note that is the name of our scale, so in my case that’s going to be a G, and
in your case, it might be a D or an F or whatever note is the main note of your
scale. So if it’s G like this instance, it needs to be the note G at the end. If
it’s D at the end, then it needs to be the note D at the end, as a whole note.
Finally, the hard part we’ll take care of once we have a little bit of melody
written. So to being I’m going to stick with quarter notes, like I usually do; keeping
things simple, and I’m gonna start on G because that is the rule. I think I will
start up high like that this time and I’m just gonna walk down. I’m just
walking down through the letters. I’m on a Bb, I think I want to jump to a new note. So how about up to D. Bb to D is okay because that’s my third to my fifth note of
the scale. I’m walking up I’m just gonna walk up to G again, maybe do some
more skipping. I’m allowed to jump down to D or Bb, and then I’m gonna do some
stepping. I know I need to get low at some point or another, right? And there’s
my G at the end. So, mostly stepwise motion and if I skip it must be between
the 1st, 3rd, or 5th scale degrees of the scale that I’ve been assigned. In this
case G minor, which means G is 1 Bb is 3, and then 5 is D. Alright, so now
I’ve got a melody that works with all the rules but I still haven’t checked my
melodic minor rule. Which is that if it’s going up, if they’re heading upward, if
it’s scale degree 6 or 7, it needs to be raised by a half step, and then if it’s
going down it needs to be lowered back to natural minor. Now I know that since I
don’t have any sharps or flats in here this is natural minor right now. But I
need to make sure that its melodic. I’m gonna look for every spot that is
a sixth or seventh scale degree, and then see which direction they’re going. In this case
this is 1, G, which means back one step in the scale, that’s a seventh. Now, the
question is: which way is the seventh going? Is the seven going downwards? Or is the
seven going upwards? And in this case it’s going downward, so it should be
natural minor, so I’m actually safe. Now this is a sixth then, that’s also going
downwards, so it’s also safe to be natural minor. These I don’t have to
worry about. And now I’m going up. Here I run into a sixth, right? That is Eb.
It’s heading up that means I must raise this note by a half step. So I need
this to be natural since the key signature has made it Eb. So I’m gonna raise
my E, and it goes up to F. That’s the seventh, so that one also needs to be
raised by a half step, from “normal” F, natural F, to F sharp.
And then I can go down, going down. Here’s another seventh. So that’s a G, this is
one letter down, that’s F. It’s not going anywhere for a moment, but it eventually
it repeats right? Two Fs. But it goes up eventually, so that means that since my Fs eventually rise, I need to raise them. Now I have F sharp going to G. I’m gonna
play this back and see what I think. It works pretty well, and then I
might mess with the rhythms a little bit like always. Maybe do a little dot here,
here and there, maybe this one too. And I’m gonna add just a little flourish
here just for fun. Maybe I’ll go …well I can’t skip here, I’ve caused myself a
problem, because I go G A Bb A right? A is not allowed to jump down
to D, in this case, so I’m just gonna change the rhythm so that my Bb here can
jump down and see how that sounds. I’m gonna turn it into an 8th so that
fits. Now it goes F sharp and I think I want a little bit of
movement here too, so I’m gonna speed things up. I want to have my F sharp go to G twice, like that. Well! Let’s see what we get now. Yeah it’s almost something I like. I’m
gonna actually just make that another eighth note. That was just too busy there. Well maybe
we’ll go…. that should work. Let’s see. I have a totally fine minor melody. I
might play with it more later if I’m in the mood, but this would work fine for my assignment.
I just need to double-check that all my sixes and sevens that rise (and it’s
really about where they’re going next). So six goes up next so it needs to be
raised, F is seven it goes up next, so it needs to be raised. And then I can jump
around when I’m allowed (scale degrees 1, 3, and 5). And you know I really just didn’t like this part so I’m
gonna do that, and maybe hear it one more time. I like my melody much better now and
then I’m finally gonna go to file and do my export to PDF and then turn it in in
Canvas, and then we’re all set. And writing more and more music as the
course goes on so hopefully that’s fun! Okay, good luck!

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